"Don't ask, don't tell" -- the policy and even the mere phrase -- says much about who we are as Americans. What we do in its wake will help shape what it means to be an American in the twenty-first century -- well beyond the rise and fall of this bizarre and convoluted law.
If there's one lesson we should have learned in the debate over gay service, it's that "don't ask, don't tell" was never about military effectiveness. It was a moral and political abuse of power, propped up by a ban on speaking truth to that power.
Despite the military's move to relax and soon do away with "don't ask, don't tell," repeal in Congress is in grave peril. Obama should repeal the misguided policy through the 2011 Defense Authorization bill.